U.S. Department of Energy Releases Six Fact Sheets to Help Facilities Managers, State, and Local Energy Officials Benchmark Performance-Based Efficiency Improvements

July 27th 2011
Screen shot of 1 of 6  fact sheets released by the Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has released six fact sheets to assist American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grantees and end-users in benchmarking energy efficiency upgrade costs and expected annual savings. The fact sheets are directed at municipal, state, and federal government buildings, healthcare facilities, universities, colleges, and K-12 schools. The fact sheets provide information on the typical range of project installation costs, savings, and payback times from energy retrofits completed by energy service companies (ESCOs).

The U.S. Department of Energy's Technical Assistance Team worked with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) to develop these fact sheets using project-level data from the LBNL/NAESCO Project Database. They are the culmination and summary of more than ten years of database analysis, led by Charles Goldman, leader of the Electricity Markets and Policy group.

The LBNL/NAESCO Project Database—funded by the Department of Energy—is the largest database of ESCO project information in the world with more than 3,600 projects. It includes information on project installation costs, savings, measures installed, facility physical characteristics, market segment, and location. Information for 75% of the projects in the database came from NAESCO's voluntary accreditation program. The rest were provided by state and federal agencies that administer performance contracting programs.

"The U.S. ESCO industry is an example of a private-sector business model where energy savings are delivered to customers primarily through the use of performance-based contracts" said Peter Larsen, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "This is our first attempt to widely distribute project-level performance benchmarking information for this growing industry."

The fact sheets provide benchmarking information for four energy retrofit strategies: major HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), minor HVAC, onsite generation, and a category for an array of other energy-efficient equipment and strategies.

The performance metrics, shown graphically, are: project installation cost in dollars per square foot of floor area, annual reported savings in kBtu and kWh per square foot, percentage of baseline energy saved annually, and simple payback time in years.

By referring to these fact sheets, facilities managers and other officials who are planning energy efficiency improvements can benchmark estimates of the costs and benefits of various types of improvements for similar types of facilities.

The fact sheets were written by Peter Larsen, Charles Goldman, and Andy Satchwell.